REVIEW: Ted- Thunder Buddies for Life

From the mind that brought you Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show comes Ted, from writer, director, and star Seth McFarlane. This is the story of John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) and his teddy bear best friend, Ted (voiced by Seth McFarlane). Ted is a very funny film, which is the best comedy of the year, so far. Highly quotable, with some actual tear-jerking moments toward the end, and extremely raunchy at times, it is one of my favorite films this year (Marvel’s The Avengers currently ranks #1 with The Dark Knight Rises on the horizon). It is fair to say that McFarlane’s first foray into the motion picture industry is quite the success. Is it perfect? No, but it is very good.

The film starts out on Christmas Eve in 1985, where we meet a young John Bennett who is constantly picked on, made fun of, and has no friends. John is constantly trying to make friends, including trying to join in on the neighborhood kids’ yearly tradition of beating up the only Jewish kid, for which he is shooed away, even the Jewish child tells him to go away. The next day, John receives a stuffed teddy bear, whom he affectionately names Teddy, that also says “I Love You”. That night, John makes a wish as a shooting star goes by, and the next morning, learns that Teddy has come to life. He shows his parents (Alex Borstein and Ralph Garman), who initially freak out, but afterwards calm down, with Borstein likening Teddy to the “baby Jesus”. The two new pals then promise to be best friends forever.  This whole opening sequence is kind of blasé, with the exception of the Jewish Kid and the always funny Alex Borstein.

The film then shows Ted appearing on different newscasts and talk shows around the world, including an impressive computer generated sequence placing Ted on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. It should be noted that the CG Ted looks and moves like you’d think a teddy bear-come-to-life would. McFarlane would even motion-captured some of the scenes with Wahlberg in order to make the conversations between Ted and John more organic and realistic (well, as realistic as you can be talking to a magic teddy bear).

We see John and Ted through the years via flashbacks, including a mullet-headed Wahlberg. Fast forward to 2012, and Ted and John are still best friends, albeit immature and crude. John is 35 and working at a rental car lot, with co-workers Guy (Patrick Warburton), Tanya (Laura Vandervoort), Alix (portrayed by John Viener using his “European guys” voice from Family Guy), and his boss Frank (Matt Walsh). John is currently in a 4-year relationship with Lori (Mila Kunis), a steady, responsible office helper. The interactions here between John and Ted are funny, organic, even if they are raunchy and hedonistic. There is good chemistry between Kunis and Wahlberg, and it doesn’t feel forced in any way.

We see John and Lori celebrating their 4-Year anniversary, with Lori expecting John to present her with a proposal, but not receiving it. John is perfectly content to have Ted live with them forever, unlike Lori. She gives him an ultimatum to make Ted move out, to which he is initially resistant. He is finally persuaded when they return home that night to Ted hanging out with four prostitutes, one of which has defecated on the floor on a dare. This is one of the fouler, but more funny moments of the movie.

Ted is forced to get an apartment and a job. He fights getting a job, not wanting to be responsible. During his interview at a local grocery store, we are treated to the first gut-busting moment of the movie. I recommend not eating or drinking anything during this sequence. Ted’s remarkably inappropriate behavior towards the manager not only gets him hired, but eventually promoted! He eventually starts dating the other new checkout clerk, Tammy-Lynn, with whom he has sex in the store multiple times, one time they even get caught by the manager and the interaction between he and Ted leads to Ted getting promoted. Again, another great laughing moment.

Also appearing in the film is a very creepy father-son duo of pedophile-type Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) and Robert (Aedin Mincks), who are stalkers that want to buy Ted from John. This is a truly eerie moment, in the sense that you really think that the two have a much more sordid, disgusting relationship.  Ribisi is very good at playing a creep, and was a perfect choice for this role. His actions, his mannerisms, and his ridiculously creepy tone all made for a great sell. Mincks was a very destructive child, and acted just as sick and creepy as Ribisi did. The fat jokes during the chase scene later in the film weren’t the funniest, but they were delivered with great comedic timing.

In the third act of the film, John abandons Lori at a party thrown by her repulsive boss Rex, played excellently lecherously by Joel McHale, to Ted’s apartment party to meet Sam J. Jones, “star” of the film Flash Gordon. Here they partake in drinking, drugs, and reckless behavior, all of which are executed hilariously, especially John and Ted’s cocaine trip. We get a hilarious cameo by Ryan Reynolds, who turns out to be Guy’s gay lover. McHale is constantly trying to get Kunis’ character to leave John, and after this fiasco at Ted’s apartment, Lori leaves John. It feels sincere and heartbreaking during this moment for all three parties involved, as each are losing the ones they care about the most.

Soon after, Ted is kidnapped by Donny and Robert. Ted eventually escapes, and during the chase scene where Lori and John try to rescue Ted, he is ripped in half. I personally whimpered a little, and it was sad as John and Lori tried desperately to sew Ted back together, but to no avail as Ted is reverted back to a plain teddy bear. When Lori makes a wish upon star that night, Ted awakens in the morning, alive and well, with a stroke/mental disorder joke that is a little crude, but still quite funny.

John and Lori get married, with Sam J. Jones officiating, during a funny ceremony. The ending sequence is probably one of the funniest parts of the movie, with a particular Brandon Routh joke that I almost felt was put in there just for me, as well as the fate of Donny’s son Robert. One of the best parts of the whole flick was Patrick Stewart acting as Narrator, which is worth the price of admission alone. I mean come on, who doesn’t love Patrick Stewart?!? Plus, he narrates the entire ending sequence, which just makes it funnier.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Ted. You don’t have to be Family Guy fan to appreciated this movie, but it helps get some of the little nods to the Seth McFarlane cartoon scattered throughout the film. Were all the jokes funny? No. But the ones that were funny were spot on. Its serious (mostly) when it needs to be. It’s not the greatest movie ever, and its definitely not for kids (its rated R for a reason), but for adults looking for a great, hilarious romp with what seems to be Family Guy’s Stewie and Rupert 30 years later, it is perfect. I will gladly go plop down another $5 to see this movie again.

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Until Next Time, Peace!